Company’s Coming Part 3: Organizing Tasks & Time

Note: This is the third in a series. If you missed Part 1: A Conversation with Myself, click here. For Part 2: Party Parameters and Menu Planning, click here.

Having established the party parameters and planned the menu, on Sunday I printed and filled out three At Home Worksheets: Menu Planning, Schedule and Shopping.

Step 3. Organizing Tasks & Time
Organizing Tasks & Time is probably your most important planning effort. The principle here is that you should spread your tasks over time and resources. If, when you have scheduled your tasks it feels like there is no way you can do this and imagine not feeling pressured and get your one relaxed hour before guests arrive, you need to drop back one step and re-think your menu. Remember: Things always take longer than you think! Alternatively, you need to develop more resources! That means more help from friends and family or the decision to make less and buy more. The latter may mean some menu revision.

I feel confident in my menu and plan. I can imagine this being a wonderful dinner and my enjoying it from start to finish. As you review my schedule, it may look like lots to do as the list is long. I never took the position that home entertaining is effortless. But this list is spread over nine days and most of the tasks are easy. And remember, I enjoy doing these things. It’s only when they become too much that what should be a pleasure becomes a chore. We’ll see as the week progresses.

Here is my schedule as I filled out on At Home’s Schedule Worksheet:

The Weekend Before (that meant this past weekend):
Pre-shopping/scouting (completed)
Menu Plan (completed)
Meyer Lemon Sorbet (completed)
Candied Meyer Lemon Peel (nearly completed — the peels are candied and drying fro a few days)
Rhubarb — not entirely sure how I want to make this. So far I have cut rhubarb into small cubes and am macerating the cubes in sugar. This creates a kind of “cure” to the rhubarb — extracting some water.
Completed shopping list
Filled out Schedule worksheet
Ordered Wild Italian fennel pollen online
Ordered chocolates from Michael Recchuiti (forgot to do this and now may need to pay higher freight)

Plan for this week
Thursday looks like the day or evening I will have time for most of this
Arrange for server/helper from Frog Commissary staff (completed)
Figure out a hot hors d’oeuvres to add to menu
Cure salmon
Make components of lentil salad
Make wild mushroom broth
Finish candied lemon peel (Completed)
Make crostini for white anchovy hors d’oeuvres and cheese — I cut these today and they are drying before a brush some with garlic and olive oil, for the hors d’oeuvres and some just olive oil for the cheese.
Make mint syrup for the champagne cocktail
Finish rhubarb
Make cornmeal cookies
Ask Frog Commissary kitchen for small amount of our star-anise scented lotus root chips for cocktails
Some light neighborhood shopping mid-week to deal with my mid-week prep (Wednesday for Thursday prep)
Shop for wine (Christina) (Completed)
Friday – Reading Terminal Market shopping

Rittenhouse Square Farmer’s Market — flowers and cheese
Portion striped bass
Sorrel mayonnaise for Spring Vegetable Antipasti
Cook fava and peel fava beans
Roast beets
Peel asparagus
Prep and cook baby artickokes
Puree honeydew
Pull and label platters/bowls
Set table
Arrange flowers

Sunday Day
Chill champagne and wine
Cook pappardelle
Portion striped bass and coat with fennel pollen
Assemble lentil salad
Slice and platter cured salmon
Grill baby artichokes
Platter/bowl olives and chips
Temper and pre-scoop sorbet and hold back in freezer
Run dishwasher and empty
Wash and put away any dirty pots, pans, etc.
Put away things on counters we won’t need to turn-out dinner

Post menu and task list (prep labels) on cabinets
Review dinner plan with Frog Commissary helper
Make white anchovy crostini
Make hot hors d’oeuvres
Arrange antipasti plates
Sautee wild mushrooms and compose pasta course in bowl
Pan-sear striped bass and arrange with lentil salad on dinner plate
Make cheese plates

Next: Shopping and Progress Report

At Home’s Mother’s Day Special
You should have recieved an email from me Monday about an At Home’s Mother’s Day Gift Special that includes a personally inscribed At Home, a Pascal Lemaitre Mother’s Day Card and At Home bookplate for you to inscribe a permanent Mother’s Day greeting in your gift. I hope you consider giving the gift of At Home. Also, please forward the email to everyone you think might be interested.

Thank you for visiting.



Filed under Entertaining at Home, Menus, Tips

5 responses to “Company’s Coming Part 3: Organizing Tasks & Time

  1. Kathy Howard

    Dear Steve,
    really enjoying reading your prep list, and how you have organized your week prior to your dinner. One question, how are you prepping the pappardelle on Sunday during the day?

    • athomebysteveposes

      Good question.

      The pappardelle is being served with a wild mushroom broth and wild mushrooms. On Saturday I will make the mushroom broth with trimmings from the fresh wild mushrooms that I plan to buy on Friday at Reading Terminal Market plus some dried mushrooms. I will cook off the pappardelle on Sunday and hold, probably in a water bath or possibly just lightly oiled. When I am ready to serve, I will quickly refresh the pappardelle in either boiling water, or directly in the mushroom broth if I have enough. I will saute the mushrooms with some shallots, a touch of white wine, finished with a little more butter. The now hot pappardelle will go into waiting heated bowls with a little bit of broth — this is not a “soup” — the sauteed mushrooms on top and maybe some chopped chives. Because we are having a cheese course, I have not yet decided whether I will grate a little parmesan. I guess the key here is that I don’t want to worry about having to time the cooking of the pappardelle from scratch so pre-cooking it means that is essentially ready for me whenever I want to turn out this course. The whole thing should not take more than about 5 minutes to turn out.

  2. Pingback: Company’s Coming Part 4: Shopping « At Home By Steve Poses Blog

  3. Pingback: Company’s Coming Part 5: Countdown to Guest Arrival « At Home By Steve Poses Blog

  4. Pingback: Company’s Coming: Part 6 — Company Came « At Home By Steve Poses Blog

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